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I love shit like this
One of the clearest memories of my childhood was one night at 8 or 9 years old, I was playing in my room with the 16 billion plastic horses I owned, just completely lost in my imagination having the freaking time of my life. My mom came upstairs to tell me dinner was ready. I begged her, “Can I puhleaseeeee have FIVE more minutes?!” but she shook her head assuring me that I could come right back up and continue where I left off. Disappointed, I hung my head and followed her down the stairs.
When we sat down at the table I asked my mom why she didn’t play with toys like I did. She said, “I used to play with toys all of the time, just like you. I had even more horses, if you can believe it.” I did not believe it and if my 8-year-old self knew how to curse I would have announced loudly that she was full of shit. NO ONE HAD MORE HORSES THAN ME. She continued, “but one day I just didn’t want to play anymore. Just like that. I guess that’s when you become a grownup.”
I remember nodding so she thought I understood, but I was actually pitying her. How could someone just NOT want to play with toys? How could that happen? It wouldn’t happen to me. If that was what being a grownup was, then I didn’t want any part of it. But, as she usually does, my mom ended up being right. One day I stopped. Just like that. I don’t really remember when or why, but I did. I mean, I’m GLAD or else I’d be one weird-ass 28-year-old, but I remember going back up to my room that night after dinner and solemnly promising each and every one of my toys that I’d never forget them. And even though I no longer hold the Kentucky Derby in my bedroom, or line up my stuffed animals in a row and kiss them goodnight, I’ll always remember.
*pic of me around 5 or 6 yrs reading to my friends. No one broke the news to me that 1) I didn’t know how to read yet and 2) my friends were actually really fucking creepy
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I go to the same Subway location once a week. Or, if I’m being honest, 2-3 times a week. I don’t even particularly like Subway that much, it’s just there aren’t many places around my office to go and I almost always forget my lunch at home. I don’t know why I’m validating my meal decisions right now, but I’m feeling your judgey Tumblr eyes. Anyway.
The same guy is working every time I go and even though I go MULTIPLE TIMES every single WEEK and order the SAME thing EVERY time, he still asks me step-by-step questions in the same robotic way. No smiling, no laughing, no acknowledgment that he’s seen me before. It’s like I’m nothing to him. Each time he asks, “bread?” “cheese?” part of me wants to stare deep into his eyes, reach over the counter, place my hand over his and whisper, “C’mon, you know me. You KNOW me.”
It’s like in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo film series (the Swedish versions, not the American one because they TOTALLY fucked this part up) where you so badly want her to express emotion or show some sort of genuine affection/vulnerability for Mikael Blomkvist but she never does. The Subway guy is my Lisbeth except with less focus on vengeance and affection and more on remembering that I do not want anything toasted.
I have this irrational fear that I’ll run into him out on the streets in public one day and greet him over-enthusiastically. I picture him walking with someone else and as we make eye contact I yell “HEY!” and he just keeps walking. But, instead of giving up, I follow him while reciting my order over and over thinking that I’m being funny. He keeps walking, probably faster. The person with him glances back at me with concern and slowly pulls out a phone as if to show me that they have easy 911 dial access. I don’t let this hinder me because I’m a goddamn regular and he knows it. Anyway, this fear ends every time with a serious talking to by a nearby security guard and a lifetime ban from Subway.
So, to avoid this potential tragedy of a situation, I think the next time I see him I’m going to say, “Goddammit, Lisbeth. You know what kind of cheese I like.”
Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day. I once knew a woman who interned at a magazine where she wasn’t allowed to take lunch hours out, lest she be urgently needed for some reason. This was an entertainment magazine whose raison d’être was obviated when “menu” buttons appeared on remotes, so it’s hard to see this pretense of indispensability as anything other than a form of institutional self-delusion. More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter. —
The Busy Trap by Tim Kreider
Such an incredibly accurate and ultimately depressing article.